Scoutmob is an Atlanta-based e-commerce start-up focused on championing the independent maker. The website features all kinds of handcrafted goods, including clothing, jewelry, art and accessories. Every product has a unique story, a creative vision or reputation of handmade quality that only comes from independent makers.
We connected with Jess Monette, Director of Curation & Production at Scoutmob, to learn more about the company, its vision and how they connect with independent makers.
1. What inspired the creation of Scoutmob?
Scoutmob was founded from a desire to support independent merchants and makers. We initially began with a stronger focus on local experiences, helping our fans and followers discover creatives in their city that play a significant part in shaping the unique identity of their community. Shortly after we launched our e-commerce platform for independent makers in 2012, we realized that people across the U.S. were excited about these crafted, inspired goods, regardless of their city of origin. We started presenting our makers to our full national audience and we’ve been growing ever since.
2. Where does the name come from?
“Scoutmob” comes from our core philosophy: we “scout” independent artisans and creatives, and then share them with our audience that we affectionately refer to as our mob.
3. Why is supporting local independent craftsman so important to the company?
We’ve always been passionate about seeking out unique experiences and goods because, simply put, we enjoy them. Behind those experiences and goods, you often find a maker who wants nothing more than to turn their passion into their life’s work. We love supporting these talented movers, shakers, and doers; they don’t have corporate-sized budgets or large marketing departments to generate awareness and sales. We always say, “we’re not a marketplace, we’re a marketing place.” Not only do we provide a sales platform, but we’re also giving them targeted exposure to our audience of over a million fans who have come to trust our eye for curation and style. We select every maker we work with, and we’re proud of them; we feel lucky that, every day, we get to help our makers achieve their own goals and dreams.
4. Did you ever think shopping would be your full-time gig?
At a young age I was very into the stories and nostalgia we attach to objects in our homes, product packaging, all of it. And yes, I have always loved to “shop.”I come from a family of collectors, folks that truly value art and craftsmanship. My grandma would get up before sunrise every Sunday to shop the flea market in upstate NY, and at age eight I loved walking the rows with her, discovering treasures, feeling really proud when you find something special or haggle a deal. The thrill of the hunt is definitely in my blood.
5. What do you love most about your job?
I get to shine a light on these makers’ stories and their work. The part I love most is that we then pass these stories on to consumers, all over the country, for retelling in their homes, their daily lives, and relationships. It’s pretty special.
6. How do you find makers who align with Scoutmob’s mission?
I am a heavy blog roller. I follow around 200 blogs. Instagram is huge. I know very quickly after landing on a maker’s work if 1. it feels authentic, it’s inspiring and then 2. that our audience will be inspired and get it as well. Usually that means the aesthetic is on point, but also that the product clearly communicates a special, hand crafted quality.
7. What trends are you currently seeing in the handcrafted movement?
Hand looming, folks who work in fiber art are having a moment. Woven wall hangings, tassel art, and macrame have been a playful and organic way to add texture to walls for 50 years, but these pieces work so well in today’s handmade modern spaces.
8. Name three makers you’re particularly digging right now.
I started working with Clarke Titus, of Rough South Home on a collaboration last fall. In all of his work he totally elevates the natural beauty of the wood grain, with really special finishes and processes. He is also a total purist when it comes to clean visual lines and angles. We just launched his new collection exclusively on the site, and I’m really proud to work with him. Quilting is such an incredible art filled with much history, and the end result is a family heirloom, passed down through generations. We are lucky to work with First Shelter. Christy’s modern, heirloom quilts are made with organic cotton, hand dyed and sewn in San Diego. They are truly art, and beautiful enough to hang on the wall. Wild Standard are makers of fine, handmade flags. They are always cooking up collaborations with other awesome designers and the result is really special. We are currently featuring them in our spring decor collection because their pieces are a foolproof way to quickly elevate any space.
9. Tell us about a Scoutmob maker who really inspired you.
Impossible question! I am really lucky to work with over a thousand really hard working people who do something they truly love. Often this means making after they get home from their day job, or all night after they put their kids to sleep to fill orders. But they are all super inspiring for their passion and devotion to all the good stuff, bona fide, independently designed, quality products.
10. What are your favorite design destinations in Atlanta?
Our HQ is on the Westside of Atlanta, and there is so much going on over here right now. A short list is anchored in the Westside Provisions District. Dixon Rye is a seriously handsome mix of really fine home goods. They also carry the best candles and are my go to for black tapers—so hard to find! The designer behind crazy, hip spaces around town like The Pinewood and Ladybird, has a shop called Brick and Mortar. The vintage and found pieces he curates are the perfect edit of Americana and modern. Another amazing spot down the street is COVER Books—an impeccably curated mix of gorgeous art, design, food, and wine books. They also carry a great mix of art zines and magazines. The space is beautiful and very easy to lose track of time in. If I’m not shopping home, I’m on the other side of town at Young Blood for handmade jewelry and accessories, and fig & flower for beauty.
Photos from Scoutmob